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This battle between retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, and their workers over having to work Thanksgiving is personal for me.  Before I re-careered and went into IT, I spent 14 years working in retail with two different department stores.  I left the business in 2002.  The craven madness for consumer dollars was more restrained back then; though I had to work odd hours during the holiday season, I enjoyed the flexibility of being able to work late (or early) and have the rest of the day to do what I wanted or needed.  But regardless of the schedule I had during the holidays, I could always count on three days out of the year when the stores would be closed: Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.  I've got more to say below the zest a l'orange.

I appreciated that even though I had crazy hours during the holidays and I had to work two or three nights each week, I knew I could count on Thanksgiving to get a break before the craziness of Black Friday.  Often, there was a lot of work before Thanksgiving to get my department completely merchandized.  So Thanksgiving was a day to be able to kick back and enjoy the company of my family in the midst of a busy holiday season.  

So I was taken aback a few years ago when I started to see that stores like Wal-Mart and Kohl's were open Thanksgiving Day.  I thought, don't they have any respect for a national holiday?  The holiday that commemorates the landing of the English, the origin of the United States?  And of course, the conclusion you can draw is, they care only about the almighty dollar.  They don't care about their employees, about them being able to spend time with their families.  That's what getting Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays off is all about.  It is just wrong that employees have to work Thanksgiving Day.  It was not created as a holiday for just another friggin' sale at Toys R Us.

It is bad enough that retail workers don't necessarily get the other national and federal holidays off either: Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, New Year's Day, President's Day.  What are all of these days often associated with, in people's minds?  You got it! Big sales at the stores!  And the retailers know that a lot of people are off on these holidays, and they schedule sales to be held at this time because they know that people are not working or in school and might like to take some time to shop!  But this is not true for their employees.  The store employees often have to work these holidays, at least some of them.  When I was in the industry, I would have to work a lot of these holidays.  For most of my career, when we worked the holidays, the second department store I worked at would pay us time and a half, and we would get another day off that same week.  This was nice, but it was not the same as being able to have the holiday off and be with your family or friends.  If everyone else you know has the holiday off and you don't, you miss the shared experiences that enrich your family and social life.  The only saving grace for me is that I wasn't married at that time and so I didn't have a spouse or kids I was missing spending time with on a holiday.  For those with a family, having to work on a holiday would be a real hardship, I would think.

So I won't shop on Thanksgiving Day.  Hell, no, I won't do it! I would discourage my wife from shopping on Thanksgiving.   And for those who are camping out in front of Best Buy or other stores right now so you can be the first in line for the Black Friday specials, I ask you, are you nuts?  What makes having some trinket or bauble or gadget more special than being with your family or friends on Thanksgiving?   Have we been warped as a society by the onslaught of crass commercialism to the extent that shopping is more important than our relationships?  I am thankful that there are still some states in the Northeast that prohibit stores from being open on Thanksgiving.  But sure enough, even there, at the stroke of midnight or one o'clock, the big box stores will be open and the Black Friday madness will ensue.  

Originally posted to Kurt from CMH on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People and Community Spotlight.


Will you be shopping Thanksgiving Day?

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Comment Preferences

  •  My daughter has worked (35+ / 0-)

    at a large, (in)famous retail chain for 17 years.  She started working when she was still in high school, and is used to it, and in fact management makes sure there is food available for employees, and she says it's even fun.  Well, not for the rest of the family, though.  She used to come home for Thanksgiving but had to leave early to get some sleep before going in to work.  Since she lives two hours away, when I say she has to leave early, I mean about 4 p.m.  Now she doesn't come home for Thanksgiving at all.  

    The same thing applies to Christmas - she comes home sometime late on Christmas Eve and spends the night but has to leave early on Christmas afternoon so she can be ready to work on returns day Dec. 26.  Our  family holidays are scheduled around retail hours.  

    She tried getting a job as a paralegal, (she has a degree), but there are no jobs, and if she'd found one, she'd have to take a significant pay and benefit cut.  She makes good money, has good benefits and likes her job.  She's got opportunity for advancement, too.  So that's all good but I'd love to be able to have her home for the holidays.

    •  Ex-husband worked in retail (27+ / 0-)

      His job was at a golf equipment store, which stayed open on Christmas Eve until 8 pm or whenever the last customer left. Since we didn't have children, it was usually hubby who was asked to work until closing. So he'd be able to leave that store at about 8:30 and then had to drive for about 90 minutes to get home. So much for spending Christmas Eve together.

      What really sucked was going to church by myself and being asked every thirty seconds where my husband was. I wouldn't have minded if he had had a position that needs to be manned at all times, such as police dispatcher or EMT or something of a similar nature. But club fitter? Really? Would it be really detrimental to the business to deny someone the opportunity to buy custom golf clubs on Christmas Eve at night?

      Also, it pissed me off that we were always the ones that were denied a decent Christmas just because we didn't have children. Rotate the Christmas Eve duty and close the frickin' store at five. How hard can that be?

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:48:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  99.9% of the people who shop on Christmas eve (2+ / 0-)

        are simply too lazy or unimaginative to get it done prior. People will shop in the time given. Make it 6PM and there will be people there. Make it 10PM and there will be people there.
        It's time for Americans to step back and figure out what is really important and what isn't. And getting up at the crack of dawn (or sleeping overnight) to buy some piece of crap made in China, something the retailers have deliberately shorted in order to create unreasonable demand, is insane.
        But then, 47% of America still voted for Mittens, so I guess that explains the insanity part!

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:07:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes my husband only has one Sunday off per month (0+ / 0-)

        so I got tired of going to church alone. Now we only go when he has the day off and even then, we go less often as he is too exhausted.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:08:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My husband has worked in retail for 12 yrs. he is (0+ / 0-)

      fortunate as the pay and benefits is better than what we had working in small radio stations for 20 years.

      Radio is his profession but he kept getting laid off, time after time, due to the owners making cuts to save money.  Every time he would be in a position for a raise, that would be the time they would start laying off the veterans.

      Retail at least offers him fulltime work with good benefits and he is lucky to work for a chain store where Black Friday does not start until Friday and they are closed Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow he does not have to go in until 2 pm and close at 10.  

      He has won numerous customer service awards because he is so good with people and the store manager values him greatly.

      But he has severe arthritis in his feet and we are not sure how long he can continue at this pace in retail, day after day.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:07:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just saw this NYT article: (27+ / 0-)

    “Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks for all you have,” said Mr. Brewster, 47, who runs a computer repair business. “I cringe to think what society is doing to itself,” he said of the mercantile mania that threatens one of the least commercial holidays.
  •  No Thanksgiving (31+ / 0-)

    No Black Friday. No Christmas Eve. I'm buying locally, or, when I need to, online. And am giving a lot of charity gifts to people--donations in their name to a charity. Most of us have too much shit.

    "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

    by zaynabou on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:09:59 AM PST

    •  I agree totally. (11+ / 0-)

      This year I've decided to give charitable gifts. For the kids, a little cash, one small gift each and a share in a water buffalo from Heifer International. (They chose their own animal to give, and are really excited about it.) Husband belongs to a conservation/historical group and it's annual dues are due. They are not cheap, so that's his gift. As for me, I plan to give some money to the St. Francis Energy Co. in South Dakota to help heat a home for a native American. The other half of my allotted Christmas money will go to our local SPCA where we got our beloved cats.  I'm going to ask my mom what she and dad want for Christmas, and if she has no specific request I'll give them a share in a couple of animals from Heifer International. Like you say, we all have too much shit. Let's give others something they really need.

    •  about charity gifts (9+ / 0-)

      We do this too ... and have lots of fun with it.   (which niece "gets" an Oxfam goat this year?  which nephew is the food bank gift?  ).

      A word of caution, though ... this results in a crazy amount of solicitations throughout the year.  I wish the charities would give us an option that lets us opt-out of the resulting junk mail ... save the printing/mailing costs for use of the actual charity recipients!

    •  I also shop a lot on line but I also shop year (0+ / 0-)

      round. But it is mostly for the kids, lord knows you are right about enough shit, LOL.

      The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

      by cherie clark on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 05:45:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Same here, shopping locally or buying online (0+ / 0-)

      sales cyber monday.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:19:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary (15+ / 0-)

    I worked in retail during my high school years - waaaay back.  At that time, there was no question but that the store would be closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Because I was a high school student, having those days off didn't have the same level of meaning as it does to me now, but I appreciate you pointing out that if your entire family or group of friends are off work, and you are not -- you miss out on all the comraderie and fun of that shared experience.

    I long since got tired of the rampant consumerism surrounding Christmas.  I haven't shopped on a Black Friday in years and I won't be doing so again this year.  I definitely am not going shopping on Thanksgiving.  I have a few more bucks in my budget for Christmas this year than I have in the past five years -- but those lean years are fresh in my mind.  I'm doing what I did last year - donating money to various charities in the names of my family members, and asking them to do the same.

    •  Working Easter (8+ / 0-)

      I worked for EB Games as a store manager for several years, and I think it was in 2004 that the company decided that our non-mall stores were going to be open on Easter Sunday.

      (Mall stores were a problem, since they were inside buildings that were locked tight because everyone else was sensibly closed.)

      I had to figure out who was working that day.  The district manager recommended part-timers.

      "It's a holiday," I said to my district manager.  "Are we going to pay them time and a half?"

      "No," came the answer.

      So I said, "Screw that," and I worked it myself, by myself.  If the decision were up to me, I'd have kept my store closed.  The decision wasn't up to me, though, and I wasn't going to make my employees give up a holiday.

      I'm a godless heathen anyway, I wasn't missing anything that day by working the store.

      •  my husband works Easter in retail and it is no big (0+ / 0-)

        deal as we do not really celebrate Easter much anymore since my parents died and our son is out of college and off on his own.

        And if he works on a holiday like Easter, he gets another paid day off in exchange for that day.  So he likes working some holidays but the store is Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:22:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I emailed JoAnne Fabrics today and told them (25+ / 0-)

    how nice it was of their company that they respect their employees and not opening until 5 am on Friday. I also stated in the email that Wal-Mart, Michaels, Target should take some lessons from you.

  •  It feels like just another way (19+ / 0-)

    that the 1% (who I guarantee you will NOT be in their stores on Thanksgiving) is sticking it to the 99% of us who have to do their bidding and help them make "more profit more profit more profit" or lose our jobs.

    The elites at least used to let us think we had some rights - like taking Thanksgiving Day to be with our families. Hell, even medieval peasants had the privilege of an occasional feast day when commerce shut down. But no more.

  •  I worked in retail (15+ / 0-)

    management in college and for 5 years afterwards.  During that period the fight was over opening on Sundays.   One of the main reasons I got out of retailing was I no longer enjoyed Advent or Christmas and I hated the rush.

    I NEVER shop on the day AFTER Thanksgiving and will NEVER shop on Thanksgiving itself.

    Ceterum autem censeo, DOMA delendam est.

    by mkfarkus on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:40:30 AM PST

    •  My husband prefers retail to some other jobs where (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt from CMH

      he had very poor benefits and barely any health insurance and often no insurance at all.  He said he will only work retail fulltime, however. He has very good benefits where he works now in retail...medical, dental, vision,  disability insurance,  3 weeks paid vacation, extra comp days for working a holiday,  retirement package, HSA , and more.  

      He worked at small to medium radio stations for a few decades and while he loved the work, the pay and benefits and job security were horrible. !!!

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:27:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My dad was a letter carrier for USPS for 3o years, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt from CMH

      good union pay and benefits but Christmas season was just plain awful and on Christmas Eve, he was lucky to get home by 7 pm..then he said he could relax and enjoy Christmas.  He loved it when he retired and he could enjoy the entire Advent season.

      So USPS employees as well as retail personnel really have it rough over the holidays, difference is USPS overtime is very good money.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:29:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did letter carriers have to work (0+ / 0-)

        on the federal holidays?  It's something I've been meaning to ask my aunt.  My grandfather was a letter carrier, and he passed before I was born.  

        For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

        by Kurt from CMH on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:49:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The only reason IMO for shopping on (11+ / 0-)

    Thanksgiving is forgetting an essential component of the dinner (I thought YOU brought the cranberry sauce! No, I thought YOU did!)  or someone getting ill and needing such things as tissues, cough drops, and such. (We always had someone sick over each major holiday growing up, it was apparently a tradition.)

    But for fun? No. That's not what the day is about.

    At least, in my opinion.

    Now, before Black Friday became Black Friday, in the late seventies and early eighties, I joined with my mother and grandmother, aunts and female cousins, in going shopping just when the stores opened on that Friday. Of course, then the opening time was six am, and part of the ritual was going out to eat first, and we were shopping at higher end stores, too. A reunion for lunch at a certain restaurant to show off the morning's loot was part of it, and it was a magical, fun, lovely thing. But that is all gone now, and I honor the now by joining my local Wal-Mart protest on Black Friday.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:59:17 AM PST

  •  Thanks for posting this. I work in retail (31+ / 0-)

    now but was I was a high school biology and art teacher for 25 years.  

    I've been working in retail for about 8 years, and yes, things have really changed in that time.  Money is god now.  Staffing is ridiculously low, and customers are impatient.   People are rude much of the time even if they don't have to wait.  They often treat retail staff like second class citizens now just because they can, and they have outrageous expectations.  It wasn't like this 8 years ago.

    I've done a lot of different jobs through high school and three university degrees.  In my opinion, there is no more thankless job than working in retail.  Corporations anxious to keep their stock prices high continually find excuses to reduce labor dollars, and this leaves retail workers in impossible situations.

    In recent years, customers make ridiculous demands of staff, and then complain to management if you can't do it immediately. They don't care that you are too short staffed and have other customers waiting to be helped, and neither does management.  

    And let me be clear, I'm not speaking here about tasks like wrapping a gift, I'm talking about searching the internet to find out what it is they want - they can't remember the name but it was a blue container.., then searching to find out who sells it because we don't carry it (and why don't we carry it, dammit!) and then calling the other store to see if they have it in stock and to find out what it costs.  I'm serious.  Demands like this happen to me every single day I'm at work.  And no thanks afterwards.  We have a list of phone numbers of other local stores on the wall in the office next to the phone, for just this purpose.  

    And secret shoppers - how condescending is that.  Imagine if we decided to put kids in classrooms with recording devices to monitor the way teachers do their jobs.  Yes, the unions would have a fit.  Well, almost all retail workers are subjected to secret shoppers on a regular basis.  They are in our store every week.

    A lot of the administrative work in retail has now been shuffled down to low-paid staff as well.  Middle management has been cut too, and, well, someone has to calculate the local sales goals (always ridiculously high) and chase down credits, outstanding orders, etc.  Now we are expected to do two things at once - give perfect customer service, and sit at a desk in the office and do all the paperwork associated with your department.  At once.  Needless to say, both suffer.

    I've been wanting to write a book for years called "In Praise of Retail Workers."  They can make or break your day in just a few minutes, by being kind to you at the starbuck's window in spite of the hectic pace of their job and the bad morning that you're having.  A simple act of kindness from a store clerk can make a huge difference in someone's day, and most of the time, that's what customers get, cheerful kindness.   But usually, management only hears about the over-stressed, over-burdened, frustrated clerk.  

    I only work part time and I'm very fortunate I can do that.  But many people in retail are young parents, and for them, part time is not an option.  They are constantly juggling what is now a very stressful job with raising a family, paying a mortgage, etc.  Many have outrageously high student loans to pay off, or they're trying to put themselves through a college degree.  My heart goes out to all of them.  The list of ways that retail workers are abused is a very long one.  

    Please, today, make a point to thank your barrista, your cashier, your clerk in the department store.  You've no idea what their jobs have become.  

    •  Thanks for this keeplaughing (7+ / 0-)

      You entered the industry a little after the time I left.  I see things haven't gotten any better.

      You point out something important-- there's only so much blood that can be squeezed out of the turnip before service suffers.  Or the workers suffer.  It goes a long way toward explaining why Wal-Mart workers are resorting to unionizing and job actions.

      I am married with 2 kids now.  There's no way that I could work in retail now-- at least if I have a support issue, I can handle it at home if the call comes in when I'm at home.  My wife is trying to get a job working in retail just to have some work experience in the U.S. and to bring in some extra income (she was a teacher when she lived in the Philippines), but I am not pushing her too hard, knowing what I know about retailing.

      For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

      by Kurt from CMH on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:36:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Although it's been many years since (10+ / 0-)

      I worked as a sales clerk, and later as a waitress -- I still remember what it was like doing those jobs and try to always be courteous to those who are working those jobs now.  I have witnessed the level of rudeness rise toward clerks - it seems that the less power/money people have in their own lives, perhaps they take it out on others who can't talk back?

      Anyway, I go out of my way to be friendly and courteous to store clerks and wait staff.  It is indeed a thankless job.

    •  My husband would love to read it as he works (0+ / 0-)

      retail but he is very, very good with people and it helps that his boss and dept manager thinks he hung the moon  in terms of how good he is with customer service. He is a people person, so kind and patient and helpful.
      Customers often tell the manager how pleased they are with him.

      He finds the pay and benefits much, much better than he ever had in 2 decades working in small radio stations with awful benefits and horrible pay.

      He does not complain at all although he gets some rude customers.  He has severe arthritis in his feet and sometimes struggles to walk and stand but he keeps plugging away.

      My husband does not have a college degree and accepted years ago , his fate was to work these kinds of jobs. That helps him a great deal, I think. Plus I have never, ever met anyone with such a posiitve attitude.

      I married him because he was so good with my parents, my family, and so wonderful to me.  His attitude is one of the best I have ever known in all my 57 yrs on earth and I worked in social services for many years and as a teacher too.  Fellow therapists were more negative than my husband who works in retail.  Soi I was always stunned by that and we had much better pay and benefits too in our jobs.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:35:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We don't shop on thanksgiving or black friday. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH, ladybug53, JeffW, JVolvo, Avilyn

    Unless we run out of some dire need, or someone gets sick and we need supplies for that. Caedy will pick up last minute stuff on her way home from work today. If she forgets anything she'll hit a grocery store Friday and not a department store or Walmart.

    The only reason Caedy is off tomorrow is the bus doesn't run out in our direction on holidays. Her store is open. She will be working black Friday. But she works Fast food. It will be busier than normal, but at least it's not retail.

    I've done retail, horrid horrid day. The store is a disaster by the time closing comes around, half the stock is on  the floor or in the fitting room being sorted. We would close at midnight (first night of the late Christmas season), and it would take us until 3am to actually get out of the store.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:36:53 AM PST

    •  My husband works retail and he actually is fine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with it.  He is so good with people and it helps that the job has better pay and benefits than he ever had at other jobs before. He is lucky too in that his manager appreciates him and he is always winning customer service awards.

      He said he would actually like it even more if not for his arthritis in his ankles and feet. When he is not in pain, he rather likes it.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:37:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm working Tgiving this year (9+ / 0-)

    for the first time in a big box video/book chain store. I knew it was a possibility when I applied for a seasonal job but wasn't too happy when it came around--this is the first year this particular chain will be open on Tgiving.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of clientele is out and shopping on Tgiving afternoon and evening.

    We're doing our Tgiving on Saturday; the folks who come over traditionally to share the holiday also have to work on Thursday so we're putting it back until Saturday. That's acceptable, I suppose; not great but acceptable--after all, it's the thought and company that go into the holiday, not necessarily the particular day.

    Kool-Aid, man, Kool-Aid's the stuff to drink ... For fellows whom it hurts to think. (with apologies to AE Housman)

    by wheeldog on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:06:50 AM PST

  •  I'm disgusted by places that are open on Turkey (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH, RUNDOWN, ladybug53

    Day, although it was sort of a tradition in my family to go to the supermarket on the day. May have had something to do with getting away from the smell of the roasting bird for a while.

    But before anyone complains about the plight of the workers in such places, consider this semi-serious take: it's an opportunity for workers who don't celebrate TD to make some money. Surely in our DIVERSITY-enforcing society, we can appreciate that some folks come from cultures/religions that don't celebrate Thanksgiving, or just plain don't care one way or the other. I've spent  a lot of Thanksgivings and especially Christmases alone and can imagine that some find it preferable to work rather than sitting home. My $0.02

    As for Black Friday, don't STAAAHT with me, as they say in Boston. I recently ordered from my favorite mail-order folks, because there was a free shipping code. Not two days later, there was a 40% off code, meaning that I could have saved perhaps $50 even factoring in the shipping cost. I was not pleased, and the company said, "Tough noogies." So how much worse might it be for someone thinking he/she's getting a great bargain on BF--on what turns out to be a discontinued model?

  •  Our economy depends on consumer spending (5+ / 0-)

    But it doesn't all have to happen on one day.

    Or one weekend. I, for one, will eschew all shopping trips for the entire weekend.

    Of course, we could just say "hell no" to the hyper-greedy consumerism. But then, we'd just be cheese-eating surrender monkeys, or something.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:19:11 AM PST

    •  Interesting thing is I got my husband a camera (0+ / 0-)

      a few weeks ago for less than what it is being advertised for at the same store for Black Friday. I bought it online for less and with coupons..LOL

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:39:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Certain retailers, (15+ / 0-)

    like Buy More (if you've seen "Chuck" you know who I'm talking about), require all employees to work on Black Friday.  ALL OF THEM.  Nobody gets the day off.  Even if you have someone dying or a funeral to attend.  Nobody.  And if you refuse to work that day, they'll fire you.

    The sorry state of retail these days includes:  getting rid of full-time employees with the exception of managers to save money on benefits--they claim it creates flexible schedules, but when you only get 20-25 hours a week and need to get a second job, they suddenly are no longer flexible for you to work half of your week somewhere else; giving more and more responsibilities to people who work the floor, so now you have to handle customers and watch out for shrink/theft and do all the paperwork in the back and clean your department (because why hire a person to do all the cleaning, just divvy it up to everyone else!) and greet every customer who comes in and service them all so quickly that no customer waits more than 90 seconds for service--studies show that's the point when they get mad, and boy do they; craptacular pay, especially for stores that want more skilled workers, yet they are not willing to pay for the skills they want, so they get people who don't really have the proper training, they don't provide the proper training, and customers complain that things aren't done properly, GEE I WONDER WHY; management that is threatening you with write-ups or termination for not making the numbers look better than last year--because if you ever stop growing, you're failing, and thus your company is dying (does anyone understand the concept of critical mass?  A point at which you cannot grow any more at one store?  Or you cannot be any more efficient, you cannot possibly sell more product?  WHAT THEN?).

    UGH I could go on.  Thank god I am finally out of retail this year.  Last year I worked 18 hours on Black Friday (with only two 30 minute breaks), it was my last day at the job, and for all the hard work I put in, all the extra time to make the store and environment a better place, all the compliments I personally got from customers, I didn't even get a "thanks."  And this was after a devasting injury at the job that will now permanently effect my brain function for the rest of my life.  Not even a bit of sympathy on that one (someone dropped a 30 pound crate on my head.  YEAH that was my fault.  Pffffft.).

    •  I'm sorry to hear (6+ / 0-)

      about your injury at work.  Certainly working at a store is NOT WORTH IT if you get an injury like what you sustained.

      And as for being compelled to work Black Friday, even if you have a legitimate excuse for not being there: that borders on serfdom.  I can understand that it's an "all hands on deck" kind of day, but if you're really sick or you really do have a family emergency, that's just wrong.  

      For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

      by Kurt from CMH on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:05:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My husband does not mind retail and he is (0+ / 0-)

      good with the customers too and appreciated by his boss and it is a big box store too.  He has an amazing attitude of accepting whatever job he has and making the very best of it. He is a rare breed with a rare optimsm and love of life and one of the reasons I married him. And he cooks too.  LOL .

      The thing is his previous jobs for decades in radio were low paying with lousy benefits or no benefits.  He loves the pay and benefits of his retail job compared to those lousy jobs in his past.

      I think it is the perspective we have, when he had such lousy jobs before, retail seems far better to him.  It helps he has been there for 12 yrs, the customes and staff like him a great deal,  and he is fulltime with very good benfits.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:42:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also annoying how they defend (8+ / 0-)

    their actions by comparing their business to critical public safety operations - which have now have to over staff for the additional crowds (heard several managers say as much to disappointed employees).

    Additional police, fire fighters, doctors and hospital staff.

    Even critical municipal employees who have to work to keep the infrastructure systems running - also an added strain.

    Just so they can make a few more sales - though they never consider the costs involved to their communities, and why should they? You know the millionaire CEO's will be home safe for dinner.

    Just another facet of greedy corporate America.

    Other nations require stores close by law ... makes sense when you consider the governmental costs involved.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:30:51 PM PST

    •  I have to give a big box store credit for what (0+ / 0-)

      they are doing to help in NJ and NY Thanksgiving. They are delivering meals to well over a 100, ooo people in those flood hit areas. And they have travelling vans offering medical care and counseling. That store is Lowes.  They are heavily involved in those flooded areas in NJ and NY providing extra help.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:44:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What ever happened to Lightbulb (5+ / 0-)

    who wrote the "Confessions of a Retail Worker" diaries?  I did a search and saw that none have been posted since May and those have now all been deleted.

    •  I don't know (7+ / 0-)

      I was a follower of his too.  I pray that he is safe and doing OK wherever he is.

      For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

      by Kurt from CMH on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:40:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just looked a little further (6+ / 0-)

        and found that Lightbulb commented in June that it was time to step away because their anonymity was being threatened- a loss for all of us who followed Lightbulb's moving diaries.

        •  Yes, that was what happened. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kurt from CMH, Mike08, La Gitane

          There were apparently some here who wondered if Lightbulb was a troll - there was a big stink right around then about someone who blogged under several screen names and all of it was false - so Lightbulb came under some suspicion.

          But I think it was the threat to out him/her that made the choice to leave happen.

          What is the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

          by Spirit of Life on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:26:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I thought a kossack who met him/her at NN (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avilyn, Mike08, wishingwell

          made the mistake of posting semi-revealing info here, possibly well-meaning in that they thought they were helping by refuting the troll concerns?  

          That freaked Lightbulb out b/c full anonymity was crucial for him/her due to the highly unflattering honest look they were giving us into the Beast that is Big Retail.

          So Lb deleted and checked out.  That's what I remember...

          The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

          by JVolvo on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 02:00:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ya know.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, Mike08

      I wondered about Lightbulb as well.
      Hope he's well and things are ok with him.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:45:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wondered about that too as my husband (0+ / 0-)

      was telling me things to tell him to encourage him as hubby works retail and he has really learned how to make the best of it. Hubby was very encouraging to him.  Of course, hubby says the best retail jobs are fulltime with good benefits like he has and he realizes most retail workers do not have that.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:45:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Camping out and standing in line (11+ / 0-)

    for sales is something that I have never understood.  Consumerism at its worst.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:41:36 PM PST

    •  ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      waiting around to buy cheap plastic junk for a little cheaper  made somewhere else other than this country is insanity imho.

      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 05:52:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate shopping in stores so that would be torture (0+ / 0-)

      for me. I have back problems and other health issues and standing in any line is very painful for me. I only shop online and even hubby often does the grocery shopping and he has bad we split it.

      But Black Friday would be hell for me.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:47:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm old enough to remember (4+ / 0-)

    when everything was closed on every Sunday of the year, in the midwest. And, when retailers slowly started opening on Sunday.

    I guess they figure that everyone else is off, so they will require their employees to come in on the off chance that someone will shop there, if they are open.

    It would be nice if No one shopped there on these days. If they didn't it wouldn't pay to be open. However, I suspect that enough people shop that in the opinion of the owners, its worth it to be open.

    Keep moving. Its harder to hit a moving target.

    by KatGirl on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:21:32 PM PST

  •  I was delighted to see a sign @ my local Target... (6+ / 0-)

    ...this evening stating that a state law (Massachusetts) prohibited them from opening on Thanksgiving.  The way the sign was worded suggested they were having a sad and their customers should, too.  I laughed out loud when I saw the sign.

    There were a bunch of barricades stacked up outside near one of the entrances, too.  The nearby Wal-Mart is going to be hit with a Black Friday job action.  I wonder if Target is expecting a spillover of the protest.

    For the record, I was only there for the mozzarella cheese I needed for the homemade pizza I'm enjoying as I type this.

    •  Another Damned Gubmint regulation getting in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, badscience

      the way of Teh Free Market!!111

      Good on Taxachussetts for protecting working families from the Beast that is Big Retail   :o)

      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

      by JVolvo on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 02:03:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will be home baking (5+ / 0-)

    both Thurs & Fri, and watching Miracle on 34th St one of those days, might step out for some Wal-Mart protesting

    -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

    by nicolemm on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:44:03 PM PST

  •  Worked Retail for most of the last 26 years (5+ / 0-)

    I finally went back to college full time this year. Last year I was in the store at 11pm Thanksgiving night after staying until 1am Thursday morning making sure everything was ready. I will most definitely not be shopping Thursday night.

    I've told every person I know and meet that shopping on Thanksgiving makes them personally responsible for ruining Thanksgiving for others and that if they decide to shop I will think less of them as human beings.

  •  if people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH

    were buying stuff made in America at these retailers, many of these stores would not be open all year.

    55 reasons why things are the way they are.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 05:57:22 AM PST

  •  A thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH, swampyankee

    .I agree wholeheartedly with everything except:

    The only saving grace for me is that I wasn't married at that time and so I didn't have a spouse or kids I was missing spending time with on a holiday.
    Those of us who don't have the requiste spouse and 2.5 kids still have family and friends.
    Who do you think takes priority when it comes to days off during the holiday?

    The person who has a spouse and kids.  Nevermind that the rest of us have significant others, family and friends.
    Same with higher salaries too: they have a family to support.

    TL,DR verison: family is more then a spouse and kids, love makes a family.

    "I have to go... There are two gay men knocking on my door asking me if I need any abortions or marijuana. Diary, this may be my last entry" Facebook hysteria after 2012 election

    by pitbullgirl65 on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:48:58 AM PST

    •  That's the way it was (0+ / 0-)

      when I worked in retail too.  So I usually worked the holidays and got another day off in the same week.

      For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

      by Kurt from CMH on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:52:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've been in retail for 30 years. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Kurt from CMH

    I "graduated" to resort retail, where we're NEVER closed
    any day of the year.  We're pretty much responsible for
    the quality of every customer's life from the second they
    walk in the door, and have daunting statistics over our
    heads categorizing our every move AND rating us
    company-wide for all to see.  I crack up every Christmas
    when a string of Jewish guests will say how sad it is that
    we have to work on the holiday.  ??'re here!  And so we work.

  •  Everything should be closed on Thanksgiving (3+ / 0-)

    save for essential jobs like first responders, hospitals, etc.
    Thanksgiving is one of the two truly American holidays, July 4th being the other. Thanksgiving is about families. It is a holiday that you celebrate no matter your religion or national origin. It is a holiday about sharing, caring and love of one another.
    There is no reason or need for retail stores to be open today...NONE.
    We should pass a law that says no store can open until 9 AM the day after Thanksgiving.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:02:51 AM PST

    •  Agreed and why my hubby is so much better off (0+ / 0-)

      than a friend who has work today in retail.  At least his store does not open until tomorrow and he does not have to work unitl later in the afternoon and do the closing at 10.  

      But my friend has to work today..and interestingly they have very similar pay, benefits and fulltime and been there a long time. But the store does matter, which ones are open today vs closed today.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:52:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you can't possibly understand Xmas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH

    if you would camp out in front of a big box store on thanksgiving.

    In the wilderness, the one-eyed pig is king. - H.S. Thompson

    by whataboutthosesheep on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 11:39:31 PM PST

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